My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loved this one! After a long time I found a book which I couldn’t wait to get back to, in my free time. I wanted to live through and feel every place that Gilbert lived and visited in this book. She has that amazing talent to make you live and feel her experiences as though it really happened to you.
Especially her life in the ashram in India honestly enthralled me. I could quite feel the spiritual cleansing and her sense of peace she attained in the course of her spiritual journey. I would love to have a taste of a similar experience someday and feel that kind of spiritual empowerment.
And her Bali experience – that was awesome too. I apologise if I am repeating myself, but again I really wish I could do something like that someday. The artist house where she meditated every morning and relished the splendour of the flower filled garden was so beautifully described that it makes me want to embed a similar setup in my home too – so that definitely goes to my to-have list in future.
Her daily routine of cycling through the greens of Bali was another aspect that really appealed to me – that would be just so physically and mentally rejuvenating, I feel. All in all, I loved the life she led in Bali – the meditation, the learning, the cycling (being a nature lover myself) and all the remaining fun stuff.
I loved the real life examples of the law of attraction affirmations she practised in the book which made many of her wishes come true ( like for e.g. her divorce settlement) – and finding her future husband after all her heart ache and emotional upheaval she went through, was almost like having a fairy tale ending.
So there was a magical element to this real life story too – something which brings us all a sense of hope in the reality of life. Makes one believe that life can be truly a fairytale if we look within ourselves and change the way we view things – the universe truly conspires to give us what we wish for – if we wish it in the right way of course!
Also there were a lot of paranormal elements to this story that really moved me. It is a proof that there is more to this life on earth than what science and physics can explain. Some examples I can quickly add here are the guidance that Gilbert received in her dreams from her Guru that was almost prophetic, the way the Gurugita hymn caused intense physical reactions in her as well as an inner turmoil, her friend’s dream about her which was almost like a spiritual metaphor of her Gurugita experience and how magically the hymn helped her nephew to overcome insomnia on the other side of the world purely through meditation and thought.
I too strongly believe that we can find spiritual teachers in different forms if we are ready to receive them. This is what she says regarding spiritual guidance, “There is a theory that if you yearn sincerely enough for a Guru, you will find one. The universe will shift, destiny’s molecules will get themselves organized and your path will soon intersect with the path of the master you need. It was only one month after my first night of desperate prayer on my bathroom floor — a night spent tearfully begging God for answers — that I found mine, having walked into David’s apartment and encountered a photograph of this stunning Indian woman.”
The movie is nothing compared to the book – it can actually be compared to an orange peel that needs to be removed in order to taste the fruit’s rich pulp and juices inside. Gilbert is one of the authors I really look up to!
Loved Ketut and all his advices – this one was the best: “You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clear away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver.”
“Smile in your liver” is one of the important quotes that I try to live by as much as I can and have imbibed it in my spiritual practice.
Also want to add another of Ketut’s philosophies which deeply touched me:
“You have been to hell, Ketut?”
He smiled. Of course he’s been there.
What’s it like in hell?”
Same like in heaven,” he said.
He saw my confusion and tried to explain. “Universe is a circle, Liss.”
He said. “To up, to down — all same, at end.”
I remembered an old Christian mystic notion: As above, so below.
I asked. “Then how can you tell the difference between heaven and hell?”
Because of how you go. Heaven, you go up, through seven happy places. Hell, you go down, through seven sad places. This is why it better for you to go up, Liss.” He laughed.
Same-same,” he said. “Same in end, so better to be happy in journey.”
I said, “So, if heaven is love, then hell is… ”
Love, too,” he said.
Ketut laughed again, “Always so difficult for young people to understand this!”
Few more spiritually enriching excerpts that I would like to add from the book are:
“This is the hymn I call ‘The Amazing Grace of Sanskrit,’ filled with devotional longing. It is the one devotional song I have memorized, not so much from effort as from love. I begin to sing the familiar words in Sanskrit, from the simple introduction about the sacred teachings of Yoga to the rising tones of worship (‘I adore the cause of the universe … I adore the one whose eyes are the sun, the moon and fire . . . you are everything to me, O god of gods . . .’) to the last gemlike summation of all faith (‘This is perfect, that is perfect, if you take the perfect from the perfect, the perfect remains’).”
“The Gurugita does have an impressive spiritual lineage; it’s an excerpt from a holy ancient scripture of Yoga called the Skanda Purana, most of which has been lost, and little of which has been translated out of Sanskrit. Like much of Yogic scripture, it’s written in the form of a conversation, an almost Socratic dialogue. The conversation is between the goddess Parvati and the almighty, all-encompassing god Shiva. Parvati and Shiva are the divine embodiment of creativity (the feminine) and consciousness (the masculine). She is the generative energy of the universe; he is its formless wisdom. Whatever Shiva imagines, Parvati brings to life. He dreams it; she materializes it. Their dance, their union (their Yoga), is both the cause of the universe and its manifestation. In the Gurugita, the goddess is asking the god for the secrets of worldly fulfilment, and he is telling her. It bugs me, this hymn.”
“Look, the Gurugita isn’t supposed to be a fun song to sing. It has a different function. It’s a text of unimaginable power. It is a mighty purifying practice. It burns away all your junk, all your negative emotions. And I think it’s probably having a positive effect on you if you’re experiencing such strong emotions and physical reactions while you’re chanting it. This stuff can be painful, but it’s awfully beneficial.”